INDIANAPOLIS | House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, wants to change state law to prevent future partisan walkouts.
"We're strongly looking at an anti-bolting statute or a recall statute," Bosma said Wednesday -- the 23rd day House Democrats have halted legislative action by relocating to Urbana, Ill.
Indiana had an anti-bolting law on the books from 1867 to 1976. That law made it a misdemeanor crime, punishable by a $1,000 fine, for any member of the General Assembly to refuse to attend sessions "with the intent to defeat, delay or obstruct legislation."
The Democrats have said they want several measures they consider anti-union and anti-public education removed from consideration before they'll return, which would seem to run afoul of this law if it were still valid.
Since March 7, Bosma has fined each Democrat $250 for each day not in attendance.
Bosma said he's also interested in recall elections where voters could remove an elected official. That change would require a constitutional amendment.
Democratic Leader Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, said recall elections would be a waste of money since representatives are already on the ballot every two years.
He also pointed out that in Wisconsin, which has recall, it's the Republican majority facing recall threats rather than the Senate Democrats that went to Illinois.
None of Bosma's proposals can get a House vote because without the Democrats, not enough representatives are in attendance to take legislative action.
In the meantime, Bosma said he's considering increasing the daily fine.